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Digital Scotland Unveils Next 43 Areas for BT Fibre Broadband Upgrades

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 (10:48 am) - Score 5,907

The Digital Scotland project has today revealed the next batch of 43 locations (54,000 premises), including parts of the remote Outer Hebrides, Mull and the Isle of Bute, that will benefit from their on-going £410m project with BT to ensure that “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) services are available to 85% of premises in Scotland by the end of 2015 and 95% by the end of 2017.

The programme, which is supported by funding from the central Broadband Delivery UK scheme, hopes to help more than 750,000 premises to be put within reach of faster connectivity, which will be in addition to the 1.4 million+ that should have already benefitted through BT’s separate commercial deployment and not to mention Virgin Media’s cable (DOCSIS) upgrades.

Digital Scotland’s Current Funding

HIE – The Highlands and Islands (£145.8m):
• £126.4m from public bodies (Scottish Government, Department for Culture, Media and Sport [BDUK], Highland and Islands Enterprise and all seven local authorities that form part of the project area)
• £19.4m from BT.

RES – The Rest of Scotland (£264m):
• £157 million from public sources (Scottish Government, ERDF, Department for Culture, Media and Sport [BDUK], and all 27 local authorities that form part of the Rest of Scotland Project area)
• £106.7 from BT.

So far around 216,000 extra premises have been upgraded as part of the Digital Scotland work, with take-up among the related areas standing at 5.81% for the Rest of Scotland and 6.7% for the Highlands and Islands (note that the take-up figures are older and stem from September 2014).

The latest batch of upgrades, which among other things will see “fibre broadband” reach 5,000 premises in the Outer Hebrides for the first time, appear to cover work that will take place during the first half of 2015.

It’s also noted that the Argyll and Bute roll-out is ahead of schedule (Lochgilphead, Campbeltown and Rothesay will see services from this summer) and the Orkney project is today announcing its first live services in Kirkwall.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, said:

We are seeing growing momentum in the roll-out of better broadband. Homes and businesses in rural communities from Lerwick in Shetland to Gretna in Dumfries and Galloway are already able to order. The project is developing a high speed fibre network which is changing the face of broadband and helping fulfil the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver world class connectivity in Scotland by 2020.”

Brendan Dick, Director of BT Scotland, said:

The completion of our massive sub-sea cable laying programme has allowed us to make early inroads into delivering fibre for some of our island communities, well ahead of schedule. It’s great to see this progress when we’re still in the relatively early stages of the Digital Scotland partnership.

Our fibre network passed around 10,000 new Scottish homes and businesses every week last year and we’ll continue to reach more and more communities in the course of this year. We’re very pleased to be playing our part to help connect the nation to fast fibre broadband and we know there’s still a lot to do.”

List of the Latest Upgrades (H1 – 2015)

Local Exchange Name Local Authority Partnership New Area or Infill
Campbeltown Argyll and Bute HIE New
Craignure Argyll and Bute HIE New
Lochgilphead Argyll and Bute HIE New
Rothesay Argyll and Bute HIE New
Balmore East Dunbartonshire ROS New
Glasgow Milngavie East Dunbartonshire ROS New
Lennoxtown East Dunbartonshire ROS New
Glasgow Baillieston* Glasgow City ROS New
Glasgow Central Glasgow City ROS New
Glasgow Clydebank* Glasgow City ROS New
Glasgow Possil Glasgow City ROS New
Glasgow Stepps* Glasgow City ROS New
Aviemore Highland HIE New
Corpach Highland HIE Infill
Cromarty Highland HIE New
Culbokie Highland HIE New
Drumchardine Highland HIE New
Duror Highland HIE New
Fearn Highland HIE Infill
Fortrose Highland HIE Infill
Grantown On Spey Highland HIE New
Invergordon Highland HIE Infill
Munlochy Highland HIE Infill
Urray Highland HIE New
Bridge of Weir* Inverclyde ROS New
Kilmacolm Inverclyde ROS New
Brodie Moray HIE New
Speybay Moray HIE New
Tomintoul Moray HIE New
Glasgow Baillieston* North Lanarkshire ROS New
Glasgow Stepps* North Lanarkshire ROS New
Burray Orkney HIE New
Deerness Orkney HIE New
Evie Orkney HIE New
Finstown Orkney HIE New
Harray Orkney HIE New
Holm Orkney HIE New
Kirkwall Orkney HIE Infill
St. Margaret’s Hope Orkney HIE New
Stromness Orkney HIE Infill
Killin Perth and Kinross ROS New
Brediland Renfrewshire ROS New
Bridge of Weir* Renfrewshire ROS New
Glasgow Erskine Renfrewshire ROS New
Kilbarchan Renfrewshire ROS New
Glasgow Clydebank* West Dunbartonshire ROS New
Stornoway Western Isles HIE New

NOTE: The Broadband Delivery UK programme has also made an extra £20.99m available to help Scotland meet the 2017 target, which will need to be matched by local authorities and BT etc. The Scottish Government is currently still debating what approach to take with this funding.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
13 Responses
  1. Avatar Dave McLean says:

    Isn’t it time that BT and the Scottish Government focused on delivering broadband services to those communities which currently have NO broadband service, rather than offering faster speed broadband to those who do? As a BT customer, I have lost count of the promises BT have made about extending Broadband reach to our village, currently served by Bathgate Exchange – 6 miles away. All too often it is assumed that everybody has access to broadband yet there is still limited opportunity for significant numbers of people living in the Central Belt to gain access to a necessary commodity.

    1. Dave, 6 miles are too much to get you any service from the Bathgate exchange.

      But we can do something for you: we are currently working on 4 different projects – early stages but very promising – to bring superfast broadband into industrial districts in Perth and some rural communities, villages and hamlets throughout Perth & Kinross, in partnership with the P&K Council, Community Broadband Scotland and the P&K LEADER Local Action Group.

      We hope to get the first one organised this month and deployed by end of April.

      We’ll be publishing a few blog entries about this shortly on our website.

    2. The link got mangled (forgot the http:// bit…), but if you click on my name you’ll get there.


    3. Avatar gerarda says:

      The problem is that the policy makers were mislead by Ofcom as to the scale of the notspot problem. According to Ofcom’s definition you have broadband as you are connected to an enabled exchange. I did an FOI request which confirmed this http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/freedom-of-information/foi-responses/2015/january/1-276796191/

      Whether Ofcom’s error was due to a lack of understanding of the technology they are supposed to regulate, incompetence, laziness, negligence, or worse I will leave to judge.

    4. Avatar martin says:

      No plans beyond Corpach. As usual we are left with an appalling service with regard to broad band. Poor speed and only active at all for part of the year with no service this winter or last.

  2. Avatar Howard Galley says:

    By the time faster broadband reaches Ballantrae and Girvan in South West Scotland, a high percentage of people will have left BT due to poor service and terrible internet speeds.(lucky to have more than 100 Mbs especially in The Ballantrae area) Do BT care? no, you phone to complain about about poor speeds and inconsistency of line drops outs, you receive an email blaming you and your equipment. More people are looking towards satellite broadband.Good luck to them!

  3. Avatar Dunoon Lad says:

    I notice that Dunoon is not on this list., and is still getting Fiber “within 6 months”. The activation date for Dunoon keeps being delayed, and has been for many months.

    1. Avatar Connor McDonald says:

      Have you heard anything since posting this?

    2. Avatar The Sandbanker says:

      They are laying cables under the road as i speak now

  4. Avatar Thomas Doherty says:

    I am served by the Bishopbriggs exchange in East Dunbartonshire council’s area – some of the cabinets are upgraded and some not – There are 2 cabinets within 200m of my house, one enabled for FTTC the other not, guess which one supplies me?? Openreach, Digital Scotland, BT – none of them will tell me if and when cabinet 50 will be upgraded! Sitting with <1mb broadband in a suburb of the biggest city in Scotland is a joke!

  5. Avatar Connor McDonald says:

    I am in Wellbank, an are with very poor broadband. It is supposed to be 7mb but never goes over 3.6
    We now have the coming soon for fiber optic but with all the other places apparently being delayed and not seeing Angus on Amy recent lists of planned areas my hopes aren’t high.

  6. I have had to move to a sattelite connection which costs me £40 per month as the available services in Carinish, North Uist is woeful with the only other option a very poor 1 mb from Hebrides.net at around £27 a month. The latter service which I had for years was also very poor and often did not work at all which is not good when trying to run a business which in itself is very seasonal. I now see that Fibre is coming to Uist but there’s no descision as to whether they’ll be upgrading the local exchange at Loch Euphort which usually means hard luck!

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